Author Topic: New size limits on attachments/uploads including photos  (Read 492 times)

Danneaux

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New size limits on attachments/uploads including photos
« on: October 08, 2018, 07:17:57 PM »
Hi All!

TL:DR Summary: I set a new 512kB limit on uploaded attachments to conserve storage space and work better with the Forum's inline photo viewing software.

Full explanation...

Despite my entreaties, users are increasingly uploading photo attachments in full size rather than in reduced size. As a result, each unreduced individual photo can require as much space as 4-5 or more reduced photos. Multiply that by up to 4 attachments per post and the storage requirements are staggering if the practice spreads across all uploaded attachments.

In the past when the attachment folder on the server became full, the Forum crashed with every additional attempt to upload photos. I increased the allocation size several times but this was when almost everyone uploaded only reduced photos. If uploading full-size photos becomes the norm, much more server space will be needed and/or more frequent Admin intervention.

When full-size photos are attached, the Forum viewing software becomes severely challenged and the photo opens to show only the upper-left corner, leaving users to scroll around manually to see the picture one small piece at a time -- or download it for viewing on their own device. This is especially true with mobile devices, but the same viewing problems obtain for laptops and desktop monitors thanks to the way the Forum software displays large images inline. The viewing size can be increased, but then we're back to problems related to excessive filesize and not all devices will display the photos without distortion. We're at a sort of happy medium now.

In the past, I have manually resized photos for users but this is very time consuming when it could be done by users in advance. The most logical way around this is to set a hard limit on uploaded attachments in Forum software, as almost all other Admins of SMF-powered forums have done. Because server space is expensive, many have set low limits of perhaps 100-200kB per photo. I think something a bit larger would be helpful here, so 512kB per photo is worth a try as it allows pretty big and detailed photos while still conserving space compared to unreduced photos. I may need to reduce the size further, but this seems worth a try.

I'm not sure how existing photo attachments sized beyond the new limit will fare. There may be some unintended consequences -- they might not display at all or they could be unaffected. Results vary when viewing other Admin's experience. EDIT: Good news -- it appears photos already uploaded before the limits remain unaffected.
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For tips on how to upload and resize photos for posting as attachments to the Forum, see:
http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=4313.0

The operating software on many devices includes options for resizing photos or apps can be downloaded and installed to do the task. One of the easiest and most universal ways to reduce photos can be found in email software, which will either ask or automatically reduce file sizes before mailing. Mail a photo to yourself, download it, and then select it for uploading as an attachment in the Forum posting options.
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If you wish to display larger photos or more of them per post, then it is better to use inline html tags to link to where your photos are stored at a remote hosting service. Done this way, no uploaded attachments are needed because the photos are stored elsewhere. Just remember if you later change hosts or pull your pictures down from where they are stored, the inline photos in your posts will also disappear unless you manually go back and update the tags.

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 08:13:13 AM by Danneaux »

Andre Jute

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Re: New size limits on attachments/uploads including photos
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2018, 09:30:48 PM »
And high time too. I've been wondering when this was coming. Even on a 27in ultra-res screen I see the top lefthand corner of oversize photographs and have to scroll to see the whole, which in many cases of carefully composed photos ruins the experience. Not to be a hypocrite, if I've been guilty too, apologies.

mickeg

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Re: New size limits on attachments/uploads including photos
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2018, 11:01:45 PM »
While I keep all of my photos (except out of focus, duplicates, etc.) on my hard drive in full size, for sending photos by electronic means (posting on forums, sending by e-mail) I usually reduce photos.   All my photos are in jpeg format.

I just looked through one of my directories of photos that I photo reduced to 20 percent of original size, I think that camera is a 16 megapixel camera.  The largest file was 358 kb.  The reduced size of photos were 922 X 691 pixels.

My 12 megapixel camera, I usually reduce that to 25 percent, those files are usually below 200 kb and are 1000 X 750 pixels.

I think a 500 kb limit is quite reasonable.  You can still get a photo that will display at 100 percent quite easily on virtually all computers.

If you have to reduce it more, I hope you are gradual.  If you get below 350 kb then some of my photos would get bounced.  And if we get significantly below 1000 pixel width, it will be rather poor resolution.

Danneaux

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Re: New size limits on attachments/uploads including photos
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2018, 11:13:57 PM »
Quote
If you have to reduce it more, I hope you are gradual.  If you get below 350 kb then some of my photos would get bounced.  And if we get significantly below 1000 pixel width, it will be rather poor resolution.
My thinking exactly, George. 500kB max seems a good target for now will allow us to go along a good while longer before expanding the server space needed for storage. Modern cameras have boosted their pixel count resulting in larger original and reduced file sizes and I'd hate to make it more difficult for users to post their photos -- they're one of my favorite things on the Forum.

...on second thought, I've revised the limit upward to 512kB, as that is a common size (half a megabyte/1024kB).

All the best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 11:16:35 PM by Danneaux »

JimK

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Re: New size limits on attachments/uploads including photos
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2018, 01:26:02 AM »
I try to reduce all my photos to 900 pixel width, because that's what fits in my browser window comfortably! 

leftpoole

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Re: New size limits on attachments/uploads including photos
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2018, 09:08:30 AM »
If I understood one word of the explanation I would adhere but as it is I do not!
Sorry.
John

martinf

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Re: New size limits on attachments/uploads including photos
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2018, 08:11:15 AM »
On Windows machines I use the "Fotosizer" shareware to reduce the size of batches of photos for sending to forums or by e-mail.

Andre Jute

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Re: New size limits on attachments/uploads including photos
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2018, 11:50:10 AM »
On Windows machines I use the "Fotosizer" shareware to reduce the size of batches of photos for sending to forums or by e-mail.

On a Mac you can use GraphicConverter (unfortunately not free but then again cheap for the only photomanipulator any amateur needs*) which has a handy "Export for Web" command which reduces the quality of the photo a little but always gets it under the target size.

* I put all my photos through it with this routine: Crop Image, two turns of the default setting of Unsharp Mask, one turn of Auto Levels, Save the full-size version, Scale to a longest side of 800 pixels, Save with a small change in the title (I put the pixel size of the longest edge and the orientation of the image, portrait or landscape in the title), Export for Web at 512KB, and you're done. You can batch photographs together to make the process faster but up to a handful of photos I just do them individually because it's very fast indeed, quicker than reading these instructions.

julk

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Re: New size limits on attachments/uploads including photos
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2018, 11:07:24 PM »
+1 for GraphicConverter on a Mac.